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Convenience Wars

A battle is brewing on the West Coast as two international retailers — Great Britain's Tesco and Japan's FamilyMart — are opening a slew of convenience stores in California. FamilyMart, Japan's third largest convenience store chain, distinguishes itself by offering more upscale fare at its Famima stores, like exotic teas and Asian food offerings. It is opening 30 stores in the Los Angeles area this year and plans 250 by 2009. Tesco, meanwhile, could be using its $453 million launch of U.S. convenience stores as a gateway for its larger concepts, which have held their own against Wal-Mart in England, where it controls 30 percent of the grocery market.

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